Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age like Young

By Francis Davis | Go to book overview

Aftershocks

Observing the scene around McCoy Tyner at Penn's Landing this summer, a stranger to Philadelphia might have thought that being a jazz fan there was a patronage job. Everybody lining up to shake the pianist's hand as he made his way from his trailer to the stage seemed to be related to a jazz giant by blood or marriage, or to have taken auto shop with one in high school. It was as though not to pay respects to Tyner would have been a serious breech of protocol that could have resulted in immediate dismissal from the local jazz community.

Things are different in New York, where the fifty-eight-year-old Tyner lives now and where audiences seem more aware that giants need their space. A few years ago, when Tyner was performing with his trio in Greenwich Village, the latecomers to his final set one evening included Reggie Workman, a bassist who played alongside him in John Coltrane's rhythm section in the early 1960s, but whose relationship with Tyner went back even further, to when both were growing up in Philadelphia. (Workman often traveled from his parents' home in the Germantown section to Tyner's mother's beauty shop, on the corner of May and Fairmount Streets, in North Philadelphia, for late-night jam sessions.) Workman hoped to touch base with Tyner after the set—as did a writer working on a Coltrane biography, who was sitting at the same table.

What proved to be the final tune ended with a long, sliding bass solo by Avery Sharpe, accompanied by only an occasional cymbal tap by the drummer Aaron Scott. Surprisingly, Tyner never returned to the bandstand to take the tune out. As Sharpe zipped up his bass and Scott tight‐

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Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age like Young
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Francis Davis *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Advertisements for Myself xi
  • Part One - Voices *
  • Swin G and Sensibility 3
  • The Great Hoagy 19
  • Not Singing Too Much 27
  • Billie Holiday, Cover Artist 39
  • Betty Carter, for Example 49
  • Part Two - Change of the Century *
  • Bud's Bubble 57
  • The Sound of One Finger Snapping 66
  • Aftershocks 77
  • Taken: the True Story of an Alien Abduction - (A Conversation with Sun Ra) 83
  • Rashaan, Rashaan 94
  • Inward 99
  • A to Z 106
  • Charlie Haden, Bass 116
  • ornette 134
  • The 1970s, Religious and Circus 141
  • Like Young 156
  • In His Father's House 169
  • Leaving behind a Trail 176
  • Some Recordings 186
  • On Stage and Screen 200
  • Part Three - Here and There *
  • Tourist Point of View 219
  • Time Difference 223
  • Part Four - Undercover *
  • Man Lost. Songs Found 235
  • Country vs. Western 242
  • Elvis Presley's Double Consciousness 246
  • Beached 256
  • Everybody's Composer 263
  • The Best Years of Our Lives 281
  • Infamous 297
  • Victim Kitsch 304
  • The Moral of the Story from the Guy Who Knows 316
  • Index 339
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